The Next Generation programme brings together Young Theatre Makers, Practitioners and Pioneers. Yvette Hardie, the sitting President of ASSITEJ and Director of ASSITEJ South Africa, welcomed the 2017 Next Generation cohort at a meet-and-greet on Wednesday.
Hardie recounted that, before the creation of the Next Generation programme, young voices were not being heard as much as they should within the organisation. It was because she and the rest of the ASSITEJ Executive Board felt that this had to be resolved that the Next Generation programme was born.
“There wasn’t a sense of new blood coming into the organization.” – Yvette Hardie
The Next Generation programme nurtures and supports the best and brightest Young Practitioners and Researchers in the field of Theatre for Young Audiences. The 2017 cohort of delegates represent over 30 different countries from all over the world – from Japan to Cuba, India, Chile, Namibia and Denmark. While the Next Generation group looks at all facets of Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA), their areas of specific focus include Dance, Education, Physical Theatre, Acting and Directing.
Lungile, a member of the 2017 Next Generation cohort, is a 24 year-old who lives and works in South Africa. The focus of her work is Theatre in Education. The following quotes are some of her thoughts she shared with me during an interview after the meet-and-greet:
On being part of the Next Generation programme…
“It feels like it’s an honour, a privilege, because I’m going to be able to gain more knowledge and more skills from other people from other countries. So it really is an honour and privilege.”
On her work in TYA…
“So, we help them, the educators, teach creative arts in a more practical way, rather than being just about books, theory.”
On her hopes for the future of TYA…
“My hope for the future of TYA is that we can be more influential as artists on the lives of Young Audiences and, also, looking at what’s happening around the world, and actually putting it on stage for them to both learn something and also teach us something from that instance. Also, taking into different communities, because you find that especially here in South Africa, you find that there are places that they are not really exposed to Theatre. So, if maybe we can take good Theatre to those places, to rural areas like deep agricultural areas where Young Audiences can also witness Theatre in their area.”